September 08, 2004

Sometimes law enforcement forgets to ask, "may I come in, please?"

This helpful reminder from the Idaho Supreme Court: "A Terry stop may not be effectuated by a warrantless, nonconsensual entry into a residence or place of business without probable cause for a felony and exigent circumstances."

It's also bad manners once a person attempts to terminate a conversation by closing the door, to insert one's foot through the threshold to keep him from closing the door, especially if one has a badge and a gun.

The opinion helpfully summarizes the facts in Terry in a paragraph, then states, "Compare this with today’s case, where law enforcement go to a home for a loud noise, hear no loud noise, continue to the defendant’s door and when they become suspicious in talking with him -- about what we’re not sure -- enter his home."

Good to know that not even in Idaho is this okay.

( To think I knew them when: the judge who signed the opinion was a district judge in my county, and is that rarest of things - an appellate judge who's actually watched a few trials - while the trial level p.d. on the case, Julia T., started out way back here on the high desert at my office.)